January 21, 2023
Dearica Hamby accuses Las Vegas Aces of bullying, manipulation and discrimination
'To be treated this way by an organization ... leaves me sick to my stomach'
On Jan. 21, the Las Vegas Aces traded forward Dearica Hamby and a first-round pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for center Amanda Zahui B. and a second-round pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Hamby had been with the Aces for eight seasons and helped them win a WNBA championship in 2022.
Hamby and the Aces had agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $169,000 per year last June. In September, during the Aces’ championship parade, Hamby announced to the fans that she was pregnant with her second child.
On Jan. 15, six days before Hamby was traded, she tweeted, “Imagine expressing your fears as a woman and being pregnant in this profession/world…. Then to be reassured that you were supported.. and your back was ‘had’…. only to then be used against you.”
After the trade was announced, Hamby posted a lengthy statement on her Instagram page accusing the Aces organization of mistreatment. “Being traded is a part of the business,” she wrote. “Being lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against is not.”
Hamby accused the Aces of making false promises when she signed her contract extension and questioning her work ethic and character due to her pregnancy.
“I was promised things to entice me to sign my contract extension that were not followed through on,” Hamby wrote. “I was accused of signing my extension knowingly pregnant. This is false. I was told that I was ‘a question mark’ and that it was said that I said I would ‘get pregnant again’ and there was a concern for my level of commitment to the team.
“I was told that ‘I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain’ (Because ‘no one expected me to get pregnant in the next two years’). Did the team expect me to promise not to get pregnant in exchange for the contract extension? I was asked if I planned my pregnancy. When I responded, ‘no,’ I was then told that I ‘was not taking precautions not to get pregnant.’ I was being traded because ‘I wouldn’t be ready, and we need bodies.'”
Hamby added that she had always intended to play this season and was working out consistently to prepare for a return, but that the organization questioned her commitment to the team. She alleged that the Aces told her, “You’re getting moved regardless, and it’s best for your career that you move on from the Aces.”
Hamby expressed anger toward the organization for how she was treated and the trauma she experienced.
“To be treated this way by an organization, BY WOMEN who are mothers, who have claimed to ‘be in these shoes,’ who preach family, chemistry, and women’s empowerment is disappointing and leaves me sick to my stomach. We fought for provisions [in the WNBA’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA)] that would finally support and protect player parents,” Hamby wrote.
While Hamby sharply criticized the Aces organization in her post, she thanked her teammates, the fans and the city of Las Vegas. “The love for me, my daughter, my family, and even my unborn has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated,” she wrote. “I gave everything I had, and up until the disgusting comments that were made to me, I fought to stay here and tried to be amicable.”
Hamby also thanked the Los Angeles Sparks, general manager Karen Bryant and head coach Curt Miller for “the sincerity in our phone calls and the validation of what was transpiring.”
“I cannot fully put into words my appreciation, but I hope my actions will speak for themselves,” Hamby added. “I am experiencing a lot of sadness [and] betrayal, and realistically, I am processing a lot. Nevertheless, I am committed to this franchise and am moving forward.”
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The Las Vegas Aces did not return multiple requests for comment, but several WNBA players commented on Hamby’s post with supportive messages. Meanwhile, the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) called for an investigation into the Aces’ management team.
“A member of our Union has raised serious concerns regarding the conduct of members of Las Vegas Aces’ management,” the WNBPA said in a statement. “We will review this matter, and we will seek a comprehensive investigation to ensure that her rights under the collectively bargained provisions of the 2020 CBA, as well as her rights and protections under state and federal law, have not been violated.”
This is a developing story. Check back here for updates.
Written by Aya Abdeen
Aya Abdeen is a student in sports journalism at Arizona State University and has been a contributing writer for The Next Hoops since December 2022. Her work has also appeared on AZPreps365.